Carl DeMaio, in one of the hottest congressional races in the country, panned his colleagues in San Diego’s conservative coalition for trying to throw out the minimum wage increase the City Council passed.

On Mark Larson’s radio show on KCBQ Tuesday, DeMaio said Republicans missed an opportunity to put forward a positive alternative.

Here’s the exchange: Larson asked DeMaio about the tense final days of the push to force the minimum wage hike to a referendum. If signature-gathering efforts were successful, the vote will likely be in June 2016.

DeMaio said it was a bad move:

DeMaio: I think it’s a strategic mistake by the business community and by so-called Republican politicians to not offer a positive alternative. What they’re doing is they’re putting themselves in the position of being the party of no. What people are concerned about are creating better jobs improving their income and being able to make ends meet. So, instead of saying no, no, no, why not come out with an alternative replacement reform plan?

Larson: So you’re not supporting the drive to say, ‘Listen put this on the ballot and let the people decide?’

DeMaio: I think it’s a complete mistake to say our position is going to be ‘repeal this’ and then offer no replacement. We have to lay out an agenda to cut red tape on small businesses so we can create better jobs and so more money goes in the pockets of our workers rather than in the pockets of government. We should be talking about mandates that impose costs on small businesses that divert money from workers to government mandates. The cost of doing business is too high in California.

DeMaio went on to say that he would have pressed for a five-point reform plan that would have gutted unnamed regulations and then had employers pledge to pass the savings directly to workers. You can listen to the segment here.

Jason Cabel Roe, a local political consultant with Revolvis, is leading the push to throw out the minimum wage increase. He was a consultant on DeMaio’s 2012 mayoral campaign. DeMaio replaced much of his team for the congressional race.

Roe was unimpressed with the criticism.

In an email to me he wrote: “Wait, Carl DeMaio is critical of something that doesn’t prominently feature him? I’m shocked. Shocked I say.”

Clarification: Roe was not the lead consultant on DeMaio’s 2012 campaign as I wrote originally. That would be Stephen Puetz, a former partner of Roe’s at Revolvis, who’s now Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s chief of staff. 

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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